After a long process and several executive departures, the BBC has defined its new senior leadership team. Significantly, Director General Tony Hall said today that finance chief Anne Bulford has been named Deputy Director General. The move makes Bulford the first Deputy Director General at the broadcaster since Mark Byford left in 2011. It also sets her up as a potential replacement for Hall when he chooses to exit. In total, the executive team has been reduced by about a third, providing what Hall calls “fewer layers and clear lines of accountability.”
Bulford will take on added responsibilities related to the broadcaster’s marketing and audience teams. She will also create a new centralized commercial and rights group which will coordinate all BBC negotiations. In a statement, Hall said Bulford “will look at what more can be done to ensure the BBC spends as much money as possible on content.”
The reshaping of the senior management structure comes following the government’s White Paper on reforms for the broadcaster. In May, the document put at its heart a desire for the BBC to make “distinctive content” the center of its focus.
It has been a tumultuous several years for the BBC in the wake of the Jimmy Savile and Newsnight scandals. Over the past several months, it lost such top execs as Danny Cohen, Polly Hill and Kim Shillinglaw. While drama remains strong, and The Great British Bake Off has become a phenomenon, cash-cow series Top Gear this week saw host Chris Evans ankle after poor ratings for the revamped show.
Piers Wenger was recently poached from Channel 4 to take over as drama chief. Charlotte Moore, who is controller of BBC One, has now been named Director of Content, responsible for all the BBC’s TV channels and iPlayer, Hall said today. She will also take on oversight of BBC Sport.
Hall said today, “Together we stabilized the BBC after a difficult period in its history. We went on to create a compelling case for a new decade of the BBC and secured an eleven-year charter as a result.” The corporation’s new charter begins in 2017.
“I want us to turn our energy to focus on the future of public service broadcasting and what it means for our audiences. We must continue to harness the creative power of the UK. We must continue to be a creative beacon to the world and we will do this best by renewing the way we engage with our audiences as we enter our centenary year.
“The leadership changes I am making today can help ensure that the BBC is best equipped to do this. We must never stand still. We must always be looking to innovate and change. The new Executive will lead this process of creative renewal to ensure the BBC remains the most creative force in the world,” Hall said.